pathways non-traditional

Student: 3 components of a non-traditional pathway that will work for my career

One student explains why going to a traditional four-year college wasn't a must for her; discusses benefits of the non-traditional pathway.

“College is the only option if you want a real job, a real career, if you want to make something of yourself,” said every parent in the US since forever. For anyone growing up in this country, it’s become a truism passed down from generation to generation. Sure, a generation or so ago, there were solid blue collar jobs that could lead to good life, but a “college job” was the brass ring.

And we are also made to believe that the more prestigious the school, the better job options you will have in the future. Well, I have news for you; it’s not true, or at least not as true as it once was.

My Story

I was the responsible child. I listened to my parents and society and went to a traditional four-year college (after first attending a Junior college to save money) where I graduated with a degree in Liberal & Civic Studies with a minor in Montessori. I wanted to become a teacher, motivator, someone to change the world for good.

Of course to afford college I took out student loans, leaving me $37,000 in debt even before I graduated (and, by the way, I know millions of students graduate with far more debt).

I was one of the lucky ones, or at least I thought so at the time. I found a job as an Account Relationship Manager at a small, family-owned business where I helped more than ten brokers with their clients. I wrote reports, answered phone calls and emails from clients, ran a weekly firm-wide meeting, trained new hires, and electronically archived documents.

While at first I was excited for the opportunity and enjoyed learning on the job, as time went on I was becoming less and less interested in my job. What had I gotten myself into?

While I was still with the company I made friends with the IT person who taught me about the machines in the server room and how our email security worked; and it fascinated me. He inspired me to leave my job and to look for something that more suited my intellect and drive.

(Next page: The non-traditional components that worked better)

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